Spokane man is state’s first legal grower of recreational pot

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Washington’s first legal recreational pot grower was introduced by state officials Wednesday as an entrepreneur who followed the rules and out-hustled other applicants to the finish line.

Sean Green, 32, now runs medical-marijuana dispensaries in Spokane and Shoreline. He plans to open a 21,000-square-foot growing and processing facility in Spokane.

Green’s company is called Kouchlock Productions. “Couch-lock” is a term for being too stoned to get off the sofa. After receiving his license, Green exclaimed: “Jimmy Kimmel, yes, I will come on your show.”

Officials at the state Liquor Control Board said Green was one of the first to apply, and hurdled each step of the vetting process without hang-ups.

He “hustled as if he was competing at Sochi,” said board member Ruthann Kurose.

She said an additional dozen growing licenses would soon be awarded.

Farmers will get the first licenses so they can grow and harvest weed for state-licensed retail stores expected to open in summer.

On his license application, Green reported that his nonprofit medical business, Pacific Northwest Medical, had annual revenue of $800,000. He reported his salary as $129,600.

In introducing him, LCB Chairwoman Sharon Foster echoed Green’s sentiment that he’s a guy who follows the rules.

But according to complaints with the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), Green withheld wages from two employees at his Shoreline dispensary. A department spokesman said Green’s company paid the wages, totaling more than $1,600, and resolved the issue last year.

When asked about the wage complaints at a news conference in Olympia, Green said, “I was not aware of the complaints.”

But L&I spokesman Matthew Erlich said employers, such as Green, would receive a copy of complaints workers file with the agency. He confirmed with The Associated Press that the department dealt directly with Green to resolve the complaints.

State officials said Green passed criminal-background checks and financial investigations in applying for his business. Looking at L&I complaints is not part of the qualifying process for state pot business licenses.

LCB Director Rick Garza said the vetting mirrors what the agency does for liquor-license applications, which also do not include workers’ complaints to L&I.

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